George Bush and NPD

Corporate20psychopath2 "DSM Criteria

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following.

  1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique.
  4. requires excessive admiration
  5. has a sense of entitlement
  6. is interpersonally exploitative
  7. lacks empathy
  8. is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
  9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes "  Wiki


Imgpdnarcissistic Scott McClellan’s book, whether you think it betrayal of his lord and master or a belated emergence of pietas, is a summons to examination of the man in the White House.

Willfully ignorant, unwilling to tolerate dissent in discussion, hungry for adulation, cruel to those who are instinctively seen as competition, jealous of other’s accomplishments (the ridicule heaped on David Gregory’s pronunciation of French words comes to mind), inability to accept criticism, etc.

Is George W. Bush a classic example of the "Narcissistic Personality Disorder?"  There are many such people among us.  We all know some.  Perhaps we are "some."

I invite your discussion.  pl

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65 Responses to George Bush and NPD

  1. JohnH says:

    “There are many such people among us,” and probably a dramatically higher proportion of them in the US Congress than in the general population, even higher in the Senate…
    How else can you explain our elected “representatives'” infatuation with being stewards of the greatest Empire the world has even seen?
    This is why I sometimes think that we should choose at least one branch of Congress by a lottery system instead of elections–a random group of people could hardly have screwed it up worse. They would be more likely to take their role as servants of the people more seriously, and they would probably have the capacity to see reality for what it is.

  2. ked says:

    Narcissistic is the nicest thing one can say about him. Sociopathic seems more apt… ill-will thrown in with the ignorance & general personality disorder. {It takes a special kind of person to be drawn to him by charisma.}
    Bush has given Constitutional Democracy AND Christianity a bad name – quite the accomplishment!

  3. Farmer Don says:

    Col. Lang,
    I have tried to post a couple of times from this computer.
    One was to the effect that it isn’t a good idea to elect a president that has spent a couple of years in a cage.
    The other was that Scott McClellan was only doing his job and what was all the fuss about.
    Both may have been poorly written, or over-simplified, but neither appeared on your blog.
    Were these deleted by yourself, or are they filtered out because I’m using different computers to try to post?
    Don S.

  4. Charles I says:

    Narcissists require only that good men do nothing until it is too late. . . .

  5. Montag says:

    Colonel, I remember some months ago I mentioned Bush’s “Commander-In-Chief Uniform” and you questioned whether I was serious, only to find that the damn fool had actually been photographed wearing one. It demonstrated an incredible amount of insecurity on Bush’s part, not to mention the stupidity of his entourage–like the Ruritanian uniforms that Nixon dressed the White House staff in, which were more appropriate for a High School Marching Band (where I believe they wound up).
    Another disturbing aspect of Bush’s personality is the painting which he insists on calling “A Charge To Keep.” Bush liked this inspirational painting so much that he brought it into the White House from Texas and shows it to visitors. Bush’s interpretation of the painting is that it shows a Methodist circuit riding preacher riding through the wilderness spreading the Word of God. But what it really shows is a desperate man on horseback fleeing for his life from a posse, which is in the picture. The painting was originally commissioned to illustrate a story about a horse thief in a magazine. One can only imagine the reactions of visitors who are told by Bush that the painting is an inspiration to him–when they realize what it really is. Do they slavishly agree with him that 2+2=5 or do they just nod and smile at his nonsense? That would depend on the visitor, I suppose. Unlike those who prudently agreed with the excesses of Prince Vlad The Impaler (or Dracula), these visitors need not fear the rude intrusion of a stake as a reward for their honesty, however inconvenient to the Great Man. It would be charitable to assume that they were unaware of this weighty consideration at the time.

  6. arbogast says:

    He is a sociopath, and I believe that is compatible with NPD.
    He is no different than Ted Bundy.

  7. rjj says:

    Arabic is probably rich with more colorful epithets than NPD.

  8. LJ says:

    I think he is a sociopath. Here is a discussion. I don’t think the NPD label covers the kind of evident delight in causing pain. (I see his torture policy as being justified by the fact that pain is being inflicted on a large number of people innocent or otherwise.) But whatever the label, we are being led by a very disturbed person.

  9. Matthew says:

    The narcissistic personality disorder may be the way this mediocre person avoids the Randolph Churchill syndrome: Spending a lifetime reinforcing the fear that you will never be a great man like your father. True, George H.W. Bush is no Churchill, but he’s no slouch for a dad either.
    Maybe we miss the point about Dubya. His “moral clarity” and claim to have been called by God to the Presidency is one way to shed the baggage of zero accomplishments before the age of 40. Remember the Bible tells us that Moses was slow of speech and no standout before he stood before the burning bush. I know lots of average people who claim God has a mission for them.

  10. Paul says:

    You are being too generous to Mr. Irrelevant. I know a lot of people who exhibit all nine traits and many have advanced in their chosen fields because they possessed first-rate intelligence.
    Bush is a Charlie McCarthy character who perhaps cannot dress himself without assistance. He was selected and has been propped-up by the king makers because he could (and still can) be manipulated like play-dough.
    When the president of Poland was visiting the United States a few weeks back, I heard Bush on NPR express his view of “security” for Poland. Listening to him without the benefit of an accompanying visual is scary. The man sounds like a 10 year-old mimicking the Lone Ranger and Tonto.
    My hope is that your list will be amended to include: 10. Low intelligent quotient.

  11. kennyb says:

    Why do you claim to invite discussion when you ban any comment that you doesn’t follow your prejudices?

  12. Patrick Lang says:

    Mr. Bonelli
    The last time I refused to publish one of your comments it was (if I remember correctly):
    1- illiterate.
    2- lacking in comprehension of my post.
    3- personally insulting.
    You are welcome to try again. Consider this training in rhetoric. pl

  13. Walrus says:

    I’ve been studying NPD for the last five years after running into two in business and one in private life.
    I’m not sure we have enough information to label Bush as a sufferer of NPD, the missing bit is what he does with people who are no longer of any use to him. Does he discard them like rubbish? If so, then he could well have NPD.
    The rest of the symptoms seem to be there, the sense of entitlement manifests itself as the “laws are for little people” attitude and contempt for the Constitution.
    You see this in other narcissists like Martha Stewart (breaking insider trading laws) and of course the late Leona Hemsley (“taxes are for little people”).
    Any time you see an outwardly rich and successful high profile person doing something stupidly criminal to the point you find yourself saying “now why would such a fine, rich and successsful person do THAT????” you are probably looking at a narcissist exercising their huge sense of entitlement.
    The grandiosity and lack of empathy are obvious.
    There are a lot of these bastards around in senior management positions because they are often very intelligent and hard working, and of course they are always “managing up’ or sucking up to the boss to get that next promotion.
    Once in a senior management position, they hire other narcissists, because they love people sucking up to them, they get rid of anyone who is competent enough to be a threat to their self image, and then generally cause organisational mayhem.
    The reason we have an epidemic of them is because of our own idea of hiring on “merit” instead of race, class, social background, affiliations, schools etc., and narcissists do “merit” very very well.
    Of course in the old days, when we hired our friends or fellow club members, we had had the opportunity to observe them for years and knew which ones to avoid, because narcissists give themselves away if you watch them for long enough.

  14. kennyb says:

    I guess it was the snarky comment about this site being a BDS echo chamber that caused you to consider me illiterate and insulting. I stand by that comment.
    You mentioned “hungry for adulation”. I don’t think Bush could reasonably be accused of this, to the contrary, I think he has been far too tolerant of blatantly partisan criticism.
    I also note that you replied to my full name, not just my “handle”. Although I really don’t care if anyone notices this, I do think that it shows a cavalier disrespect for my anonymity.

  15. kennyb says:

    It seems that you have decided not to publish my response to your last reply.
    I will be frank and say that I am disappointed. I have enormous respect for you, and in this time when all the press is starting to say that Al Queada is on the run, I am constantly searching for facts that contradict this current thinking.
    Your website would be one that would provide this alternate viewpoint. Unfortunately, the commenter’s and yourself seem to be so seeped in BDS that there can be no rational duscussion of what is fact and what is denial of reality.
    I guess I’ll just spend my time on Belmont club and Longwar journal. At least there my comments get published.

  16. Maureen L. says:

    FWIW, yr. niece, about to get her doctorate in Clinical Psychology, has opined that GWB may have APD rather than NPD- Antisocial Personality Disorder (apparently the new name for someone who displays sociopathic affect) as opposed to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She said she’s seen quite a few in her yrs. as a clinician, & GWB fits right in there nicely.

  17. Jon T. says:

    What put me beyond the edge of concern into sadness for George W. Bush were two things: (1) the Time magazine article where he claimed God told him to invade Iraq and that Christ had stopped his alcohol consumption, and (2) the way he handled the Karla Faye Tucker mercy plea based in her having found Christ. He mocked her. I am asked to be forgiving. This is a challenge. Blaise Pascal suggests I sit alone in a room for a half hour. Would our narcissitic culture heed those two suggestions, forgiveness and silence.

  18. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Whew! What a topic.
    Before going any further I think it would be helpful to take a paragraph from the DSM-IV-TR on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) that might help clarify what we’re talking about.
    The DMS-IV-TR states on page 717 in its Differential Diagnosis section for NPD: “Many highly successful individuals display personality traits that might be considered narcissistic. Only when these traits are inflexible, maladaptive, and persisting and cause significant functional impairment or subjective distress do they constitute Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”
    Said differently, one can be all screwed up but if one is successful no one will really care. Consider the adulation Alan Greenspan received prior to the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Was there an NPD element in his seeing no need to have the Federal Reserve regulate that market? Most certainly.
    This also applies to Bush. Over the seven years of his presidency, there has been a growing cultural and social disapproval of his job performance and his ability to lead the country successfully. His current approval rating is at or below 30 percent and about 75 percent of the country believes that Bush is taking it in the wrong direction.
    The magnitude of the Bush-generated events that have created these widespread attitudes of disapproval now allows folks to wonder whether there is something psychiatrically wrong with Bush and will he do it again. That is, we are now asking what’s making him do these goofy and irrational things (could it be NPD?) even though before we may have argued that he was a competent and rational leader who was protecting us from harm. So now we’ve begun to worry that he might go off on another narcissistic tear like bombing Iran.
    Whether we need to give him a psychiatric diagnosis, however, is another matter. The key to understanding this kind of diagnostic thinking is to ask what treatment the diagnosis dictates.
    This brings us right into the bailiwick of Dr. Thomas Szasz, a psychiatrist who before the advent of successful medically based psychiatric treatment argued that all psychiatric diagnoses were a product of cultural and social expectations because they are not caused by any real medical disease. (Wikipedia)
    Of all the psychiatric disorders, only the personality disorders continue to fall most easily into Szasz’s catchall. For example, schizophrenia has a genetic basis and presumably will someday be treatable medically for this reason; depression and anxiety have bio-chemical bases which can be treated successfully using medication; and the adjustment disorders can be related to specific external events which allows them to be successfully treated using behaviorally based psychotherapy and adjunctive medication.
    But the personality disorders show little or no relationship to such biologically based determinants. So the treatment for personality disorders continues to be dictated by the social/cultural consequences of the patient’s functional impairment or the family’s and patient’s subjective distress. Ever tried treating an older adolescent male who insisted on bringing his motorcycle into the family living room because it was too good to stay outside? And, who would angrily beat up on anyone; mother, father, siblings who said or did otherwise?
    Regardless, despite the ambiguity of the personality disorder diagnosis, like pornography everyone knows a personality disorder when one sees it. I think that’s the case with the NPD diagnosis for Bush. In Szasz’s terms, there is no medical basis for Bush’s behavior. Given his power, however, there are enormous negative cultural and social consequences if he is allowed to behave in the future as he has in the past.
    Crazy, however, is not part of it. Illegal, however is. Our society needs to shift its thinking from looking for a psychiatric rationalization for Bush’s behavior to acknowledging what has been apparent for some time. He has been violating the laws of the country with impunity and he needs to be stopped.

  19. Patrick Lang says:

    Anyone who is really concerned about anonymity should not post here. I consider a desire for the anonymity that reflects the old “New Yorker” cartoon about how “on the internet no one knows you are a dog” to be a form of cowardice. What you want is to be anonymous so that you can insult, defame and ridicule rather than argue?
    I thnk you are probably just another neocon propagandist.
    I am a liberal? A liberal who believes in; states rights, federalism, is against abortion (it should be returned to the states as an issue), against gun control (life NRA member), want a constitutional amendment for a balanced federal budget, is against gay marriage? What else? Oh yes, I think Bush and the neocons are idiots in foreign policy.
    It is true that I am religiously enjoined against capital punishment. Some of these people I would “do” myself, but I respect the teaching of my church on this. I would also want to see some form of affordable health insurance for all. I have it. Why should not others?
    Iraq- AQI. They were defeated last year. I have written that and said it any number of times. What is left is Shia politics.
    Respect me? What a joke. pl

  20. Nancy K says:

    I’m not so sure that Bush is Narcissistic, I think it more likely he has feelings of inferiority, with good reason, so he demeans and belittles those he views as superior to him.
    An ignorant president can be very dangerous as he or she can be easily manipulated, ie Bush and the Neocons.
    Hopefully our next president, who ever it is, will not be duped into being a puppet and will have the intelligence and integrity to meet the challenges this country is facing.

  21. Good stuff Pat. If Bush ticked off all 9 elements he still might not meet the criteria in a technical sense. fwiw
    “As with most personality styles, only a fine line separates normality from pathology—in this case, normal self-confidence and an artificially inflated sense of self-worth.” (T.Millon:2004)
    People with NPD are insufferably self-centeredl and grandiose. ‘Walking godlke among mere mortals.’
    The most disturbing psychological moment for me was when Mr.Bush could not answer the question, “What was your biggest mistake?”
    This was a moment of profound disassociation. Is it possible that it never occurred to him that he was capable of a mistake?
    Yes, to what Paul, Maureen, Anval, have contributed. Bush does approximate what’s termed the Elitist Narcissist. (Recall the mission accomplished moment.)
    Again, from Millon, “their own needs, instead worshipping the infant. As a result, the child failed to learn that others are separate beings with their own desires. Cognitively, narcissists substitute imagination and daydreams for reality. Their past, present, and future are colored by these imaginings, all adding to their glory. Other cognitive processes protect narcissists’ vulnerabilities, such as their refusal to test hypotheses, because their ideas must be innately correct. They are also prone to black-and-white thinking and focus on small differences between themselves and others.”
    Short of NPD, these cognitive features could still be in play to some extent. The in-group at the top is self-reinforcing, so it’s possible to talk about a narcissistic leadership group.
    (Google: “Manfred Kets de Vries” | narcissism | leadership)

  22. Mad Dogs says:

    When queried about whether he has “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, Junya replied:
    “You know, the truth is I honestly don’t remember whether I tried it or not. We had some pretty wild parties back in the day, and I just don’t remember.”
    Ahem…Junya? Now pay real close attention son. That is “Narcissistic”, not “Narcotics”.
    To which Deadeye replied: “So?”

  23. A blog is like a private living room, not a public square. No one has the right to free speech at any individual’s blog. You don’t like the host’s rules, you don’t have to read or post.
    And if barred admittance, remember, it’s the host’s privilege. The rest of us are guests here.

  24. J.T. Davis says:

    Alnval… Ever tried treating an older adolescent male who insisted on bringing his motorcycle into the family living room because it was too good to stay outside?
    If it was a $20,000 -$25,000 Harley and he lived in the kind of neighborhood where 3 or 4 brawny fellows in a pick up truck could be gone with it in less than 30 seconds, it might be less neurotic or obsessive than it seems on first impression. It may be the most valuable and expensive thing he’ll ever own. I’m not defending it but I have seen it and by that I mean I’ve known guys like that (HA’s and HA wannabes) and Harleys do disappear that quickly if left out overnight in some neighborhoods.

  25. lina says:

    I say all kinds of nasty things, and Col. Lang still publishes my comments. If I were you, I’d have an inferiority complex. (which, BTW, is different from NPD).

  26. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    There is a relevant book out by a professor of clinical psychology at George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, DC.
    Justin A, Frank, MD, Bush on the Couch (New York: ReganBooks/harper Collins 2004.) I spoke with Justin some time back and he indicated a new edition was coming out.
    Says he (p. 200)…”The combination of paranoia and protective delusion leads inexorably to the crux of the formulation: the summary analysis of Bush’s psychich state. A careful consideration of the evidence suggests that behind Bush’s affable exterior operates a powerful but obscure delusional system that drives his behavior. The most precise psychic term to describe his pathology is most frequently used to identify a particular condition exhibited by schizophrenics that, as we’ll see, has broader application as well: megalomania.”
    As some SST readers know, the discipline of applied psychoanalysis was brought into US government work when OSS comissioned the studies of Hitler. Foreign leaders etal. have since been subjected to such analysis. Jerrold M. Post, MD is a well known practitioner and founded the “Center for the Analysis of Personality and Poltical Behavior (CAPPB) within the Directorate of Intelligence/CIA.
    Justin is following similar methodology in his assessment of Bush. I found it a useful and insightful read. Hope he gets going on McCain next.

  27. otiwa ogede says:

    Bush is a little man in way over his head. He is both a beneficiary and a victim of his background.
    I blame his parents.

  28. J says:

    I’ll leave the ‘labeling’ of Mr. George W. Bush to the 1984 Brownsville Texas District Attorney who had Dubya in his District Attorney cross-hairs for murder prosecution[s]. Which because of intense political pressure by Daddy B over the next 6 months, that the District Attorney threw up his hands and walked away in disgust.

  29. dilbert dogbert says:

    “Mission Accomplished”. Landing on an aircraft carrrier and wearing a flight suit when he was just a passenger. People calling the jet a “fighter” when it was just a COD (Carrier Onboard Delivery) or in otherwords a pickup truck for a carrier. I think that fits the description.

  30. Michael M says:

    As for Nixon”s Ruritanian uniforms, if Margaret MacMillan (“Nixon in China”) is to be believed, they ended up being used by a rock band.
    As for W’s Narcissistic Personality, the real issue is that W simply is not very bright. I don’t mean academically poor: a good President can have a Ph.D or be self-taught. I mean that W does not strike me as someone who can solve most problems. If your local Day Care had a funding problem and all the parents were called together to solve the problem, I suspect that there would be 50% of the people in the room who would come up with better ideas than W.
    Of course, W could get a friend to bridge the financial problem, but isn’t that the problem with W? He has a bunch of rich friends, who he can lean on in times of trouble. But when has he ever had to lean on himself? When has he had to solve problems himself? When has he formed alliances to solve a problem even as simple as financing a Day Care? A narcissist can create problems or solve problems. A dumb guy, well, he doesn’t solve problems.
    When as a foreigner (I live north of the 49th) I look at American Presidents of the 20th century, I think each one of them could solve a problem better than I could. That is not the case for your 21st century president.
    So, W may be narcissistic. He likely is. But the bigger problem is that he is not that bright.

  31. frank durkee says:

    Tom Dispatch has another interesting take on Bush that is worth taking a look at, today. In some ways it strikes me as a more promising view point than the one we’re looking at here. Publically, I have no clue as to what he’s like privately, he often seems to be playing a role and/or acting out a script than being himself, unless that’s all there is, a role, a script.
    Reguardless he has very successfully conditioned both our diplomatic and domestic future for the near term. He knows that and seems to mock the “change” mantra of this years election. whatever his diagnosis that’s a major acomplishment, which, like it or not , we will all be living with. If, as I believe, he came in with a desire to revolutionize our direction, like it or not [ and I do not ] he has in significant part done that. I think we should focus less on him and more on how to change things in a better direction.
    Here, I like many of Col. Lang’s ideas.

  32. Will says:

    right on mon Cololonel! Sacre Bleu!

  33. zanzibar says:

    I’m on the same page as alnval.
    “He has been violating the laws of the country with impunity and he needs to be stopped.”
    I would go further and believe that he and Cheney need to be made an example of and prosecuted for violating our Constitution and even crimes against humanity. If we don’t then a precedent is being established that the President is a dictator and can get away with anything. What we’ll then see is someone even worse in one or two generations. And the consequences even more tragic.

  34. Montag says:

    frank durkee,
    Yeah, that rocked. Did you see in Bush’s April 6, 2004 pep talk where he said, “There are a series of moments and this is one of them.” Well, you can’t say he’s wrong, can you?
    As for the carping complaints about the lack of room service at this hotel, Ben Franklin once explained that a newspaper wasn’t a public stagecoach obligated to carry everyone with the price of a ticket. In other words, since a newspaper must be edited all submissions would be considered only on an “at will” basis instead of entitlement. Dr. Franklin was most adamant on the subject if I recall. He could afford to be, since he was the Editor and had no dearth of space in which to be adamant in.

  35. Jim Vogan says:

    Remember early in his 2000 campaign when he was quizzed on foreign leaders? After not knowing several he perked up when asked for the leader of Pakistan, and said, “The General!” “But what’s his name?” the reporter asked. “The General!” he snapped back angrily.
    I think that fits in with the diagnosis. He expected full credit where it wasn’t deserved, which bothered me more than his general lack of knowledge.

  36. Off Topic says:

    I know this is basically irrelevant, but is there anyplace on the Internet where Bush can be seen wearing his “Commander in Chief” uniform? I’m very interested in seeing it.

  37. ked says:

    Maureen Dowd has joined the discussion, too… “Cult of Deception”
    The “cult” aspect of W’s followers reveals an active tragedy unfolding. In the past, our prediliction towards blind faith favored exceptional leaders.

  38. kennyb says:

    My beliefs are in complete alignment with yours except for capital punishment. I am certainly no neocon propagandist.
    Stephen Calhoun said: “If Bush ticked off all 9 elements he still might not meet the criteria in a technical sense.”
    This is the key. I think his actions after he leaves office will make the case. If he pulls a Carter or Clinton (or McClellen), craving the lime-light (as in points 1,3,5,6) then it would appear he is DSM. If he retires to his ranch, writes his memoirs, and only makes public appearances when called upon, then this would be strong evidence that he was merely a flawed man who when faced with an enormous responsibility did the best he could.
    I personally believe the latter.

  39. Walrus says:

    If you study NPD affected people, you realise that they have a huge chunk of problem solving skills missing. That, coupled with the lack of empathy, is the reason it is fatal to have an NPD President.
    It’s fatal, because you cannot challenge a narcissist (for example providing an expert opinion)they will simply replace them with someone spouting their own preconceived ideas, so even if you have a highly intelligent narcissist in the oval office they are a risk because they can’t receive advice.
    As for the empathy bit, if Bush was told by his tame experts, that all the problems of the Middle East could be solved instantly, thus preserving his famous “Legacy”, by the simple act of carpet bombing Sadr city and executing every man woman and child that tried to flee, he would do it in a heartbeat.
    Off topic, but hopefully of interest, narcissists seem to have had trouble with their parents somewhere around the age of five or six. The one in my personal life would gaily tell anyone who asked about her mother and father’s infidelities and incidents involving lover’s etc. when she was six years old. (both were narcissists, I’ve met them).
    Her sense of humor matches Bush’s, she is an alcoholic and drug user, but she looks a million dollars, until she opens her mouth and starts telling blue jokes in an inappropriate setting.
    She is also a highly successful businesswomen and a closet Lesbian with the morals and ethics of an alley cat…But I didn’t discover that till later.
    One of the ones I’m acquainted with in business is an extremely well known personage – he hates me with a vengeance for correcting a date he gave for something at a city club lunch where he was holding court.
    The other one hated my guts after I poured cold water over her scheme to invest about $20 million in a venture capital fund…which would have got her a seat on it’s Board. The deal was rotten, and even a promise of a seat on the VC’s investment committee wouldn’t sway me. I still wear the scars of the aftermath of that.

  40. alnval says:

    Col Lang:
    re J.T. Davis’ response to my earlier comment
    J.T. Davis is quite right when he suggests that there could be a rational explanation for the behavior of the older adolescent who insisted on bringing his motorcycle into the family living room. Most sensible people would have the same thought although some of their explanations would differ from J.T.’s. But that’s what makes irrational behavior so hard for most folks to deal with. It’s the last thing anyone wants to say about anybody.
    Approaching problem solving irrationally, however, seems to be Bush’s style much as it was Kennedy’s during the run up to the Bay of Pigs. Kennedy created a decision-making group that was isolated from outside influence and information and thus had no independent quality control (Red Team?) regarding its decision to invade the Bay of Pigs. The term “group think” comes from the study Dr. Irving Janis made of the experience. Bush does much the same thing.
    Now here’s where it gets interesting. Kennedy recognized his error and tried to do something about it. Bush hasn’t. In fact, one of the myths that has been generated about Bush is that he personally believes that he doesn’t make mistakes.
    From sampling Bush’s behavior, however, it’s pretty obvious that his personality structure makes it difficult, if not impossible, for him to engage in the kind of iterative decision making process that we have come to expect good managers to follow. McClellan makes this point in his book when he describes the Bush White House as constantly being in a campaign mode; one of always selling a predetermined point of view regardless of the facts.
    Thus, because of the poor quality of Bush’s decisions we are now saying that there may be something mentally wrong with him because it’s obvious that the decisions he’s making for the country have been bad and we’d like him to stop and we’re afraid he won’t. As Col. Lang has been implying this kind of decision making may be associated with Bush having a narcissistic personality disorder. I couldn’t agree more.
    To address J.T.’s implied question about the adolescent: The family had built a separate lockable garage for the motorcycle at the rear of the home but that wasn’t where the son wanted to keep it. Think of having a child who wants to keep their horse in the family’s 2500 square feet 3 bedroom 2 bath home only the horse is 16 hands high and weighs 1200 pounds. I know it sounds irrational and from the perspective of the family it is but from that of the son it was not.
    Is the son crazy? No. Is his behavior culturally and socially dysfunctional and maladaptive? More than likely. Is this just an irreconcilable difference between family members that might lead to violence without appropriate intervention? Yes. Is it something that could evolve into the son having a genuine psychiatric disorder? Possibly. But that ultimately might depend on how good the kid’s lawyer is.

  41. mo says:

    Read that list without considering the subject and you realise exactly why Bush, Blair and Berlusconi got on so damn well.
    J.T. Davis,
    Hizballah are now blamed for Harley Davidson thefts in the US?
    You call a man’s opinion prejudices, you say both he and all of us cannot tell between fact and fiction and we are steeped in something called BDS (Am not US based so to me that just sounds like some form of disease).
    And yet YOU claim to be offended?!!

  42. Jose says:

    Aren’t we really all suffering from NPD? (Without the American Army to do our bidding.)
    Aren’t all Presidential candidates really NPD’s on steroids? (Just think, I am the only one that can fix all your problems?)
    Question is, will “Dumbya” be ranked below Carter or above.

  43. linda says:

    my only quibble would be your reluctance to highlight all of the nine attributes… ever see this video from the letterman show. this happened during a commercial break:

  44. mlaw230 says:

    Interesting comments. Nevertheless, not all that unusual. The comparison between a narcissist and a King are quite evident, and our system has been set up, more or less expressly, to avoid the latter. How did this happen, and why has it been allowed to go unchallenged?
    I wonder, for example, where the reliance on legalisms comes from psychologically? This is perhaps the worst “lawyered” Administration of all time yet they seem to go to great lengths to find some legal support even if they have to drill down to a junior guy like Yoo. Strangely, the legal footing is so weak that one would have thought that it would be seen through, almost immediately.
    This is vaguely reminiscent of the Third Reich which carefully legalized even the most obvious violations of human rights, yet with few exceptions there was no pushback. Is there some need for the narcissist to be able to claim legal legitimacy and do they actually believe their unitary executive principals?

  45. m savoca says:

    the textbook definition of NPD leaves out one important detail.
    these people are often bullies and they profess that most adversaries to their must be brought to heel, and the only effective tactic is force.
    it has been my experience, working with gang members and delinquent leaders that one must confront bullies.
    our president projects his character flaws on to others especially his opponents.

  46. Mo and J.T. Davis, re: HA
    Mo is probably kidding, but I, too read HA as Hizb Allah (the two root words in Arabic – Hisbollah or Hizballah). Then I reached into my American memory and came up with …
    Hell’s Angels. Influential motorcycle gang, founded about a mile from me in Oakland, CA. You don’t mess with the Hell’s Angels. They are tough guys and like to use massive mob violence to settle scores. If they want to steal your motorcycle, you don’t have much recourse. Hiding it in the L.R. is the better option.

  47. Huh, Lina, if I say something out of line I get an email from the Colonel. I think he cuts the ladies a *little* bit more slack. But not too much. Anti-Americanism discouraged, and respect for the military expected.
    I would watch my mouth if visiting his house, so I watch my typing fingers when visiting his blog.
    Since I suffer from Post First, Regret Later Syndrome, (PFRLS) I really have to mind my p’s and q’s around here. It’s good for the development of my character.

  48. Montag says:

    I think the question of whether Bush 43 will be ranked above or below President Carter will be answered if they name a U.S. Navy ship after Bush. When they named one after Jimmy Carter people laughed, forgetting that the man had served honorably as a Navy officer. Unlike the Romans we don’t elevate dead Emperors to the pantheon of Gods, instead naming ships after ex-presidents. It made the Roman Senate feel good to refuse divine honors to a tyrant who no longer had the power to harm them. One suspects that the same purgative spirit will prevail today. Sic Transit Gloria.

  49. rjj says:

    Pathologizing the human condition has a whiff of the Mengelesque about it.
    It sets off alarms.
    Seems preferable to stick to the colloquial with some improvement of a**h*** taxonomy. Am sure Arabic could help. Or Yiddish.

  50. Bodo Reisling says:

    I always thought anyone who went around patting bald guys on the head was a masochist as well as a narcissist. Funny to the patter, not to the pattee.
    Here’s a picture of the President on parade, from the memoir of retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez (via Abramowitz in Monday’s Washington Post):
    “Among the anecdotes in ‘Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story’ is an arresting portrait of Bush after four contractors were killed in Fallujah in 2004, triggering a fierce U.S. response that was reportedly egged on by the president.
    “During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a ‘confused’ pep talk:
    “‘Kick ass!’ he quotes the president as saying. ‘If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.’
    “‘There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!'”

  51. anna missed says:

    I always thought this was a adept description of GWB, .

  52. Michael says:

    Not sure if this posted as I used some html – I will provide the copied text only this time around..
    The Washington Post points out that in the hubbub of the McClellan book, another scathing memoir has come out exposing the truth behind Iraq.
    Getting lost in the media furor over McClellan’s memoir is the new autobiography of retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the onetime commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, who is scathing in his assessment that the Bush administration “led America into a strategic blunder of historic proportions.”
    Among the anecdotes in “Wiser in Battle: A Soldier’s Story” is an arresting portrait of Bush after four contractors were killed in Fallujah in 2004, triggering a fierce U.S. response that was reportedly egged on by the president.
    During a videoconference with his national security team and generals, Sanchez writes, Bush launched into what he described as a “confused” pep talk:
    “Kick ass!” he quotes the president as saying. “If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! We must be tougher than hell! This Vietnam stuff, this is not even close. It is a mind-set. We can’t send that message. It’s an excuse to prepare us for withdrawal.”
    “There is a series of moments and this is one of them. Our will is being tested, but we are resolute. We have a better way. Stay strong! Stay the course! Kill them! Be confident! Prevail! We are going to wipe them out! We are not blinking!”
    A White House spokesman had no comment.

  53. Bodo – thanks for the W cheerleading excerpt. It can only be explained by a combination of the DSM and this picture:

  54. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    I’m glad to see that several commenters have touched on the potential negative implications of the state’s presuming the existence of psychiatric diagnoses/disorders as a technique for controlling the behavior of individual citizens. This was what Szasz was driving at when he railed against the medical profession which he saw as postulating the presence of psychiatric disorders by arbitrarily characterizing certain patterns of behavior as consistent with their presence. We try to discourage this kind of circular reasoning in our children but have yet to figure out how to get rid of it in our politicians. And, as I have suggested there are other more substantive means of dealing with the wayward behavior of our president than by declaring him to be a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
    In recent times, states run by authoritarian and dictatorial governments have used this kind of thinking to force their people to adopt behavioral norms arbitrarily determined by the state. Some of these, most notably Hitler’s Nuremberg Laws of 1935, passed ostensibly in the interest of protecting German blood and German honor, made it legal for the state to prevent religious and other groups from having children and in other ways to deprive them of their civil liberties and lives. (Wikipedia)
    Earlier, in1933, the Germans also passed compulsory sterilization laws that were based on the compulsory sterilization laws adopted in Indiana (1907) and in Washington and California (1909) which had been designed to reduce the incidence of mental illness and mental retardation in persons already committed to state hospitals. (Wikipedia)
    The basic provisions of the 1933 German law went far beyond the statutes of California and the other states, as they applied not just to people already in a hospital but to anyone in the general population of Germany. The law stated that:
    (1) Any person suffering from a hereditary disease may be rendered incapable of procreation by means of a surgical operation (sterilization), if the experience of medical science shows that it is highly probable that his descendants would suffer from some serious physical or mental hereditary defect.
    (2) For the purposes of this law, any person will be considered as hereditarily diseased who is suffering from any one of the following diseases:–
    (1) Congenital Mental Deficiency,
    (2) Schizophrenia,
    (3) Manic-Depressive Insanity,
    (4) Hereditary Epilepsy,
    (5) Hereditary Chorea (Huntington’s),
    (6) Hereditary Blindness,
    (7) Hereditary Deafness,
    (8) Any severe hereditary deformity.
    (3) Any person suffering from severe alcoholism may be also rendered incapable of procreation
    Many of you will recognize that the role of the state in the treatment of some of these conditions has been largely resolved. Other of the disorders are still subject to dispute and litigation as to whether it is appropriate for the state to impose treatment on citizens who may be suffering from them.

  55. Herb Ely says:

    I would go with the “dry drunk” theory. A dry drunk is an alcoholic who has stopped drinking but not worked the 12 steps. As a result, the underlying spiritual/personality flaws remain. (NPD would be a good example.) The dry drunk resides in a misplaced pride at his (her) ability to stop, looks down on everyone else, and inflicts the underlying problems on everyone else rather than relieving them through drinking. Often the family of the dry drunk will manipulate him (her) back to the bottle just to get relief.

  56. rjj says:

    There you have it. Could it be any more clear?
    Sphincter (or variant) toned up/down, suitably modified for clarity and specificity is
    * simpler,
    * clearer,
    * more serviceable,
    * more efficient (why use twelve syllables when 2-4 work just as well?),
    * more appropriate (for the uncredentialed),
    * less pusillanimous (people use these weasely scientistic terms as rhetorical latex – to protect themselves from the consequences of having made a judgment.), and
    * more charitable.

  57. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    GWBush’s inflexibility, petulance, aggression, and charm are all worrying signs. But news that he is ‘easily bored’ or ‘restless’ is the factor that convinced me he is pathological.
    I commend Martha Stout’s “The Sociopath Next Door” to anyone interested in more about the topic. It’s a rare person who hasn’t had to work with, or interact with, a sociopath at some time.
    Given the serous costs of the BushCheney administration, it’s clear that a greater focus on the mental stability and emotional resilience of candidates needs to be given far more focus than it received in the past.

  58. GSD says:

    Col. Lang,
    The Bush Cultists claim that anyone who dares question the Boy King is a liberal, radical, criminal, vegetable, Democrat, Communist, et cetera.
    I have to keep telling my rightwing friends that North Koreans are the ones not allowed to criticize their leader.
    Dissent and the ability to to be critical of our leaders is as American as apple pie.

  59. James Pratt says:

    I find it amusing that one of the bitter end George W Bush admirers would act outraged that someone who publishes a blog objects to having their policy opinions dismissed as
    “Bush Derangement Syndrome”, as if the 70% or more of the country that disapproves of the President only does so because of a mental health problem not because of any reasonable dislike of his means and results. The unprecedented 42-0 rout of the Republicans in Congressional and Governorship turnovers in 2006 was not an endorsement of the Democratic Party so much as a rejection of the deceitful military adventurism, no-bid military contracts, regulatory neglect, and budgetary profligacy of George W Bush.
    There is a much more factual case for a mental insufficiency I will describe as Bush Competency Delusion Syndrome (BCDS) than for the bitter end minority’s “BRD”.

  60. Aditya says:

    On a related note, Dr. Justin Frank was enlisted by Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (Ray McGovern et al.) to profile Bush some time ago. Their findings are worth checking out:
    Here is a snippet of what Dr. Frank concluded,
    “No Conscience
    George W. Bush is without conscience, and it would require a lengthy series of clinical sessions to find out what happened to it. By identifying himself as all good and on the side of right, he has been able to vanquish any guilt, any sense of doing wrong.
    In Bush on the Couch I gave examples illustrating that remarkable lack of conscience. From his youthful days blowing up frogs with firecrackers to his unapologetic public endorsement of torture, there has been no change.
    Observers are gradually becoming aware of this fundamental deficit. For example, after watching the president’s press conference on July 12, Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan wrote, “He doesn’t seem to be suffering, which is jarring. Presidents in great enterprises that are going badly suffer: Lincoln, LBJ with his head in his hands. Why doesn’t Mr. Bush?”
    No Shame
    George W. Bush seems also to be without shame. He expresses no regret or embarrassment about his failure to help Katrina victims, or to tell the truth. He says whatever he thinks people want to hear, whether it be “stay the course” or “I’ve never been about ‘stay the course.’” He does whatever he wants.
    He lies—not just to us, but to himself as well. What makes lying so easy for Bush is his contempt—for language, for law, and for anybody who dares question him.
    That he could say so baldly that he’d never been about “stay the course” is bone chilling. So his words mean nothing. That is very important for people to understand…”

  61. mo says:

    Colonel, do your stats show many visits from Iran as Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei may be a fan. He is quoted this morning as saying that Bush and his advisors act like mentally ill people.
    “Look at behavior of the U.S. president and members of his team, their words are like those of the mentally ill. Sometimes they threaten, sometimes they order assassinationss … and sometimes they ask for help — it’s like mad people staggering to and fro,”

  62. I agree with Herb, but the DSM doesn’t recognize the cause or the cure of dry drunkenism.

  63. Patrick Lang says:

    An interesting question about Iranian Readers of SST. Typepad does not really provide me with that data, but there seem to be several Iranian readers. pl

  64. Mark K Logan says:

    I do very distinctly recall the first moment when I had deep doubts about the man, and would like to throw it out here for some analysis. This subject is a bit over my head.
    Early in the war, there was a press conference that I hope others remember where he stated “I’m a wartime President”. It was unmistakably stated in a way that one might state great pride and
    satisfaction in ones profession, like “I’m a fireman” or “I’m a neurosurgeon”.
    I found it impossible to forget, and very disturbing. ‘Why on earth would one want to be a wartime president?’ was my question. It has no complimentary answer, I’m sure. Seems to fit with the delusions of grandeur part of the condition. I think it’s deeply revealing remark.

  65. AnonAF says:

    I count myself as quite late to this party, which may well have since ended.
    Nor have I been the most copious or diligent monitor of it.
    Yet leads me to doubt the diagnosis.
    It’s not clear Bush lacks empathy: he has been moved to tears on numerous occasions (and not crocodile tears). He seems quite attached to notions of the nobel warrior, or self-made men (and women). I’m not sure he suffers from feelings of inferiority: he seems remarkably confident of his own abilities (even if this confidence is unwarranted). I’m not sure he qualifies as amoral: he labors quite diligently to justify his actions to the faith he acquired at the ripe old age of 40. Finally, any paranoia compared to, say, that of Nixon seems quite minimal. If anything, he seems remarkably naive.
    Bush may possess personality flaws – and other ones, too – but labeling him pathological does not seem justified.

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